New York MTA Manager Caught Using Blow-Up Doll to Evade HOV Restrictions

John Amis

Anyone caught in rush hour traffic in a big city on the way to work can sympathize with Giulio Divirgilio, a general superintendent at the MTA Buses department. Mr. Divirgilio decided to trick out his Kia Telluride by placing a blow-up doll in the passenger seat in order to drive in the HOV lanes on the expressway.

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To be sure, it’s not a very unique subterfuge. Drivers have been using blow-up dolls, mannequins, and even stuffed animals to simulate a passenger in their vehicles for as long as HOV lanes have been in existence.

Related: Philadelphia to Ban Police Stops For Minor Traffic Violations Because of ‘Equity’

But Mr. Divirgilio’s response to the query by the New York Post reporter whether or not he was trying to evade the law was priceless.

Confronted by The Post outside the East New York building, Divirgilio denied he had the inflatable suit-sporting businessman in tow to illegally cruise in lanes reserved for high-occupancy vehicles.

“I don’t use it for the HOV,” the $122,000-per-year government official insisted. “I use it for the company.”

Pressed whether the dummy’s express purpose was in fact to cheat the HOV, Divirgilio replied: “Have I ever lied to you?”

You can imagine what his coworkers had to say about that.

“It was weird when we saw that thing [in his car] in the morning. Why would anyone have that there except to do HOV stuff?” said one Buses employee who requested anonymity.

One union official said, “It’s unbecoming of a manager. We laugh, but what else is he doing in secret that we don’t know about?”

The MTA said they are investigating the plastic pal.

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This is a story made for Twitter. A dominant theme was referencing “Otto Pilot” from the 1980 movie Airplane!

The practice of using dolls to simulate passengers in an HOV lane has become something of a cottage industry.

Outsider:

People often find ways to abuse carpool lanes or high-occupancy lanes. The most common hack is to use dolls. In fact, dolls that look like Divirgilio’s are available online. The dolls are called “Carpool Kenny” and can be bought for a mere $15.79.

New York cops have been trying to put a stop to the traffic scam. During separate incidents, two people were pulled over with inflatable dolls in 2019. One traffic stop happened in Brooklyn, and the other on Long Island. In both cases, cops saw the fake passengers through the windshields of the cars. Both dolls were apparently wearing baseball caps and hoodies.

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Eventually, some Big Tech company will invent a way to ascertain if a passenger in an HOV lane is a real person or a fake using heat sensors or something. Until then, the dolls work quite well in most situations.

No one dares ask if the doll is being used for something else.

 

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